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Vaccine

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Updated December 12, 2008

Definition: A mixture that is given to help stimulate the body's own immune system to produce antibodies to fight a certain disease. The mixture contains weakened or killed microbes (bacteria or viruses) or microbe parts. It is the antibodies that are created in response to the vaccine that protect against a future infection by the target disease. Vaccines can be given orally, nasally, or as an injection into the muscle or subcutaneous tissue (fat).
Also Known As: Vaccinations, shots.
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